Many researchers have openly expressed the importance for animation in the healthcare field and 3D visuals. Medical students and professionals have further explained how much easier medical animations have made their lives in terms of learning and sharing information. However, the extent to how beneficial it is to patients is often not credited enough.
Some ways in which medical animations assist patients are:
- It provides a sense of calmness and fills in the inadequate knowledge of healthcare. For instance, patients are often diagnosed with an illness but it is either not explained to them at all, explained with missing details or the patient is too embarrassed to ask questions about it. This creates a lot of anxiety and unnecessary added stress for the patient by fearing about the unknown. Animations, as shown below, explains what asthma is, symptoms, causes and modern treatment. Seeing a visual of what is happening, makes it easier for the patient to understand.
- In addition to this, it helps the patient prepare for surgery. By knowing exactly what will happen during it, eliminates the tension they might feel prior to the day of the surgery. In a study conducted by Aarhus University, animations were shown pre and post surgery for those undergoing hip replacement surgery. The video displayed what happens during the surgery and what patients can expect afterwards. The results of the study depicted that the patients that saw the video were less anxious and at ease in comparison to those who had not seen it. Moreover, the study found that less pressure was put on the healthcare professionals taking care of them.
Another example is shown in this video by the Colorectal Surgical Associates, which describes how laparoscopic colon surgery is done using 3D animations and textured visuals making it much more fascinating to see and easy to comprehend. Using simple medical terminology, by showing how the tumor is isolated and the colon is removed makes the procedure seem less overwhelming and gives the patient an idea of what to expect.
- Medical animations create a way for people to follow a healthy lifestyle and keep fit which is great for recovery from a surgery or preventative measures for illnesses. In the same study by Aarhus University, they used animations in telemedicine to help patients who underwent hip replacement surgery recover faster from the comfort of their home. Instead of patients spending several days in the hospital, they were sent home and watched rehabilitation exercises specific to hip surgery. According to Dr. Vesterby who carried out the study, he found that the patients felt they recovered faster as they has telemedicine as a solution for support. Additionally, they felt more confident and comforted knowing they had the training information they needed compared to those who did not. Even though it was more tasks and responsibility for the patient, telemedicine animations meant that the patient spent fewer days in a hospital bed and made them less concerned about the procedure.
- Medical animations are great to show children as well, as they learn in different ways than adults and are more attracted to bright colors and visuals. Especially for picky eaters or trying to include more fruits and vegetables in a child’s diet, makes it easier for them to understand the importance of this and relate to better through medical animations.
- Mental health is a difficult illness to treat as people have different levels in the way it affects them and respond differently to various treatments. A mental health trainer working at a hospital in Melbourne stated that she often had trouble getting her patients to understand empathy through role-playing. However, she found that they responded better to and understood the process in less than three minutes by watching an animation portraying this emotion. Further, animations can be more motivating, attractive and a less intimidating way to seek medical help. For example, this short medical animation by the Department of Health in Australia, Head to Health, shows ways of finding online resources and support for mental health.